|To the person who wrote about severe seroconversion illness:
Aug 22, 2003
Dr. Pierone, I read the question from a reader who is having a rough time seroconverting and I wanted to reach out - because I too had a terrible time last year, with virtually identical symptoms - fevers, chills, diarrhea, rashes, unbelievable nausea, soaking night sweats and an identical loss of weight - 25 pounds - in a short time. My pulse rate also speeded up to the point where it was usually over 100 beats a minute as my body tried to fight terrible infection. At the time, they couldn't figure out what was wrong - negative serology tests and RNA PCR tests. For awhile, I thought I might not make it, I was so ill. The worst period lasted a few months and - despite love of friends and family - it was a very isolating experience.
What I wanted to convey to the writer of that question, as someone who went through the same experience (from excellent health to a nightmare of ill health), is that he is not alone and that there are MUCH better days ahead. It may not feel that way to him right now, but there will even be many days ahead when he will feel like his former self.
I also hope that he appreciates the fact that - unlike the vast majority - he was diagnosed quickly and has been able to take meds at a time when he can preserve much of his immune system.
Response from Dr. Pierone
Thank you for your perspective on this topic. The missed diagnosis of acute HIV infection is unfortunately still a common experience because of lack of awareness among primary care physicians. Early treatment may preserve immune function and favorably change the natural history of this infection. Thanks again!
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